After many years of client-based practice and study in shamanism and psychotherapy, I have over the last few years developed a healing modality called ‘Somatic Shamanism’. This is the most powerful work I have ever offered my clients, and they agree:
Working with Chris has been unlike any other therapy I’ve done in the past, it goes much deeper and much further, it’s also, I have found, a lot quicker as the work goes straight to the emotional, sometimes physical, sometimes soul-based core of the issue. Things that have been on-going issues for me have simply disappeared after a session with Chris. It is as if the work she does on the spiritual plane super-charges my ability to heal. Working with her hasn’t just helped me to move on from past trauma and issues in my personal life, it has also helped me to deepen my own spiritual practice. I love the dreamlike, mythical and sometimes symbolic nature of working with her.
When I first began to study shamanism 16 years ago, I became fascinated with the notion that for many thousands of years, humans knew how to travel into the realms of consciousness and use these exploration techniques in a practical way to heal themselves, enrich their lives, and honour and caretake of all living beings. I was taught how a shaman can work in the quantum field and change things at the blueprint energetic level. This work was done for the community or an individual. This energetic change then travelled through to the soul level of the tribe or person, onto the psychological and eventually created change in the health of the tribe or the physical body of the individual. However, during the following years of my practice with clients, I noticed there were several limitations to this model. Firstly, I always struggled with the power dynamic. It felt as though the client was dependent upon the 'shaman' to heal in some ‘magical’ way. It was too far removed from the client’s actual experience and that appeared to me to limit the impact of the work. I found it rarely created lasting change in the client. I knew from experience that shamanism was powerful, and no doubt appropriate in a tribal context, but for me this practice was not enough to truly heal modern people, who live in complex societies with issues that were never experienced by first nation people.
So, I spent years of study and practice in psychotherapeutic techniques and combined this with my work. The work became more powerful. Particularly over the last few years as I have learnt so much from embodiment teachers such as Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing), Richard Schwartz (Internal Family Systems), Stephen Porges & Deb Dana (Polyvagal Theory) and Gabor Mate (Compassionate Enquiry). After many years of practice and experimentation I have now come to realise the most powerful healing for modern people goes in the opposite direction to the traditional shamanic model. We need to move through the shamanic levels of engagement in reverse. From the body, to the psychological, through to the soul and eventually effect change at the energetic level. In this way the individual experiences all the levels of engagement, and the power dynamic shifts away from the shaman to a more healthy person-centred approach.
So, we begin with the body, which remembers somatically everything that ever happened to us. Even if we don’t know the root cause at a conscious level, the body has an imprint, and we can find it. We feel into the body for the ‘felt sense’ of an issue, what Eugene Grendlin called ‘Focussing’, and we begin our work here. As you start to follow the trail of the body’s felt experience, the creativity and natural healing journey of the psyche starts to flow. With the right facilitation, we can begin to explore the different parts that make up that felt sense in the body. This next step is closely related (though not exclusive) to the Internal Family Systems model which explores different parts of us that protect our system. It may take a few sessions to get to know these parts, hear their stories and beliefs, and allow them to unburden. Eventually, as the parts are witnessed, heard, and updated, they begin to transform. (This is where the work is moving through the psychological level). The exiled parts in this model can be thought of in Shamanic terms as the soul lost parts that remain stuck in time and space. Shamanic techniques such as soul retrieval are often incorporated at this point. The individual is in an altered meditative state closely related to the classic shamanic journey (This is where the work moves through to the soul level) Other shamanic practices such as extractions, transformations and shapeshifting can also be experienced. All of this is done in real time and the person has a visceral embodied experience of the whole process. Eventually the individual shows you when the shift occurs at the energetic level. They often report feelings of expansiveness, lightness, a shift in bodily sensations, cessation of pain, realisations and a clarity for their own personal way forward.
Shamanism is as a path of ‘knowing’, not ‘belief’. It is a direct experience, and no belief is necessary. Once you feel its power and experience those shifts for yourself, it is an experience that can never be taken away from you. Somatic Shamanism is the therapeutic art that weaves all this together. This model creates sustainable change, which for me is the whole point of the work. In my own inner work, I want results and not just a pleasant energetic experience. I want to track my development as a human being. What is important to me is the distance we travel, the growth and changes made, the legacy we leave behind for those that come after us. Our evolved consciousness is the only part of us that travels beyond death. This is the point of the human experience. This work is sacred.
The online practitioner course consists of 12 months of teaching/study groups and 3 months of course work and assessments. The first course will run from June 2022 – September 2023. Over the course of the training, we will cover the following modules:
o The Art of Shamanism - The shamanic journey and working with the stones, plants, and animals.
o Soul loss and Power loss
o Ancestral healing
o The Medicine Wheel
o Ritual and ceremony
o Andean mysticism
o Parts of self-work
o Somatic healing
o Working with clients - skills and techniques
o Ethics and practical issues
As with all my fees I am committed to inclusivity, so the full course fees are on a sliding scale depending on your income £1,200 - £2,500. After an initial deposit, the fees are paid by monthly direct debit. Please contact me to discuss. Applications will be via an initial e mail enquiry, that will include your background and the reasons you want to train in Somatic Shamanism. Followed by a zoom meeting to assess suitability.
The only requirement a student must have, is a commitment to their own inner development work. To become good practitioners, we need to be continually working on ourselves. We cannot lead people through their own process unless we know intimately the inner landscape of our own journey. The course will require that you learn the process by working on yourself.
Please e mail me for further information.